Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Protests erupt in Chicago following the release of Video

According to CNN, Chicago was coined "the murder capital" back in 2012 when over 500 homicides occurred.

On Wednesday, a group of protestors stormed the streets of Chicago protesting the murder of 17 year old black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white police officer. On Tuesday, a video of the fatal shooting was released and following the release Jason Van Dyke (the police officer) was quickly given first degree murder charges. Van Dyke claims that the shooting was justified because he felt unsafe after McDonald had been seen with a knife, breaking into cars. Van Dyke has a fairly good record as a police officer, but recently people have been complaining about his "use of excessive force and racial slurs."

The video's release came over a year after the shooting. The County's state attorney made a statement saying she thought it was important to release the video following the charges so that people knew the officer was being held and everyone could feel safe. Alzarez, the attorney, is facing some criticism that the investigation took too long.

The protest was described as relatively peaceful in comparison to those in Ferguson and Baltimore, but 5 people were still arrested. Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer charged with murder in many many years. McDonald's family issued a statement to the protestors saying “Don’t resort to violence in Laquan’s name. Let his legacy be better than that.” However, some groups are arguing that further and more extreme protests need to be done. 

Do you think to make a point the protestors have to be "less calm"? Do you think protests are the most effective way to show disapproval? Do you think protests can actually have the reverse affect if taken too far?

Do you think there is a solution to this trend of black teenagers being murdered by white police officers? What does this reveal about the racism of our country?

PS: sorry I just realized someone had already posted about this, but feel free to add any additional insight! For a more in depth description of the video, refer to this link:



Daniel Jun said...

Here's Daniel the Cynic: And yet despite all this smoke blowing, no changes will happen.
I'm sorry, but after months of hearing the same terrible story of a white cop killing a black teenager and everybody losing their mind but nothing in particular happening to combat the injustice, I couldn't help it.

But Rome wasn't built in a day. Maybe all of these riots and racial movements can actually create some societal change on the level of the Civil Rights Movement from decades ago. But right now, observers like me only see large numbers of Chicago citizens losing their marbles over a dead teenager who was actually committing crimes with a knife.

But perhaps what we need is better control over police officers. I mentioned this in fourth period, but police officers in Japan are heavily punished (be it by losing any chance of getting a promotion or actual punishment) for discharging their gun. This means the police is wary of using their authority (although this may result in a lack of effective policing).

The riots don't need to be stopped... yet. And, while I hate this analogy a lot, I find it is very accurate: we're trying to stop the symptoms rather than cure the disease. The disease is the racism that permeates the American psyche, and this results in said riots.

Lea Tan said...

As an occurrence that seems to have happened too often recently, it doesn't seem like the protests are doing much to stop the murders. I think peaceful protests are much more effective than riots, because although riots will get more attention, it's not the type of attention you really want. I think sometimes the violent outbursts that result from these situations only put the protesters in a worse light, potentially causing those that were not originally discriminatory or racist to become racist towards them. I believe there should be a way to control police officers more carefully to ensure things like this don't happen, but at the same time, police officers must be able to do their job. I'm also curious about whether the protests are always completely justified. I know murder should never be taken lightly, but in the case that a white police officer murdered a black teenager because other peoples lives were seriously in danger, would people still call it racist police abuse?

Ryan Swan said...

Personally, I believe that violent riots are never an appropriate way to bring forth change. Past riots have only proven to invoke violence and causes collateral damage. Furthermore, these violent protests only portray the individuals responsible as brutes who are incapable at solving problems in a more humane way. Peaceful protests do not cause harm to others and portray the individuals involved to have a solid/honest purpose. This positive outlook would then make their cause seem noble and appropriate. Regarding the protest mentioned in this blog, I believe the people effectively conveyed their opinions on the shooting without portraying themselves as hoodlums. These peaceful protests are the most effective protest there are. History even proves the promising results of said protests. If you dare invoke violence, you will only make yourself appear as a belligerent fool and others will find it difficult to sympathize with your cause.

kristen said...

Violent protests never work as the message being conveyed is immediately diluted. Protests that become violent usually signify outside influences (riots, robberies, political disturbances and so on). Peaceful protests stay true to the message being displayed. What I think could have helped is that more people should show solidarity by attending the peaceful protests. Make it a million people in Chicago! That will fill the news for the entire week and force a debate about the racism that still exists in our nation. This is a very difficult and touchy subject. It's not easy to be in the law enforcement shoes either as they must exist in a naturally violent world to keep the rest of us safe while risking their own safety. However, a well trained lawman would not just shoot at a threat that's moving further away from him as shown in the video. The threat was diminishing and the officer should have shown a more composed position and not just fire away.

Alex Binsacca said...

While it may seem like this trend of white officers on black citizens violence may seem to continue, does not mean that the protests are not helping. In a case like this violence is never the answer. While violence only continues the hatred already spread by the incident, peaceful protests show that the protesters are better than the opposer. It shows enough is enough without loosing their dignity, or their human nature. So don't be quick to judge the protests, because they are accomplishing and showing the idea that enough is enough. In fact I think a person could go as far as to say that peaceful protests bring people together, while violence could very well separate people even more than they already are. I think what would be helpful in putting an end to this trend would be have police co-dates take some sort of class that helps prevent them from using excessive force. However, in the end it is all up to the people to help put a stop to this horrible trend in our modern society.